Current Imperial law says that no sitting emperor may ever resign from their position, but because Emperor Akihito believes his health—which will only get worse—will prevent him from being able to fully fulfill his royal duties.
It’s not just his advanced age, it is believed that he is suffering from diminished mental capacity.
By passing this bill into law, it will allow Akihito to become the first emperor to resign his post since Emperor Kōkaku did so in 1817. Emperor Kōkaku (光格天皇, Kōkaku-tennō, born September 23, 1771 – died December 11, 1840) was the 119th emperor of Japan,
Kōkaku was called a Jōkō (上皇)—an emperor who abdicated in favor of a successor.
In an time when emperors rarely remained on the throne past the age of 40—they either died early or were forced to abdicate—Kōkaku abdicated in favor of his son’s ascension, the emperor Ninkō. In fact, Kōkaku was the first emperor to reign past his 40th birthday since Emperor Ōgimachi in 1586.
Upon Akihito’s decision to resign his position as emperor, the Chrysanthemum Throne will pass to his eldest (of three children) son Naruhito.
There was also chatter in the circles of Japan who care about women an the Japanese monarchy… but I’ll leave that until tomorrow.
Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!